Both Import Prices and Export Prices Fell in Oct.; Jobless Claims Drop 20,000

The U.S. Import Price Index declined 2.0% for the second consecutive month in October, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. The decrease was again led by declining petroleum prices, which fell 8.3% in October following a decrease of 9.7% in September. Export prices fell 0.4% in October, after declining by the same amount the previous month. 

Despite increasing 23.8% from February to August, petroleum prices declined 2.9% over the past 12 months. The price index for nonpetroleum imports decreased 0.6% in October, the first monthly decline since March, but rose 0.5% over the past year.

Export prices decline of 0.4% in October, following a similar 0.4% drop in September, is the first time the index has decreased in consecutive months in over three years. A 0.5% decrease in nonagricultural prices more than offset a 1.1% increase in the price index for agricultural exports. Despite the October decreases, the price indexes for both nonagricultural exports and overall exports increased for the October 2005-2006 period, rising 2.6% and 2.8%, respectively.

Import air passenger fares declined 4.1% in October, led down for the second consecutive month by lower seasonal European and Asian fares. Despite the decreases in September and October, import air passenger fares rose 5.9% over the past 12 months. 

Export air passenger fares also fell in October, declining 1.9% following a 7.6% drop in September. The index increased 3.0% for the year ended in October. 

Jobless Claims:

In the week ending Nov. 4, initial jobless claims decreased 20,000 from the previous week to 308,000, according to the Dept. of Labor. The 4-week moving average was 311,250, a decrease of 250 from the previous week's revised average of 311,500

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9 percent for the week ending Oct. 28, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's revised rate of 1.8 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Oct. 28 was 2,448,000, an increase of 43,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,405,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,435,250, an increase of 5,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,430,250.

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